Culture of Assessment

I’ve been involved at various times in helping to build an organizational “culture of assessment” so I was interested to read Wendy Weiner’s take on what is involved.  She writes from the standpoint of the whole university.

The fifteen elements needed to achieve a culture of assessment are the following: clear general education goals, common use of assessment-related terms, faculty ownership of assessment programs, ongoing professional development, administrative encouragement of assessment, practical assessment plans, systematic assessment, the setting of student learning outcomes for all courses and programs, comprehensive program review, assessment of co-curricular activities, assessment of overall institutional effectiveness, informational forums about assessment, inclusion of assessment in plans and budgets, celebration of successes, and, finally, responsiveness to proposals for new endeavors related to assessment.
“Establishing a Culture of Assessment: Fifteen elements of assessment success–how many does your campus have?” [  www.aaup.org/article/establishing-culture-assessment#.UgUSoUqgbe4  ]

I would explode the item on shared vocabulary to shared concepts:

  • the cycle of assessment (relating goals to assessment, using your data, etc.),
  • the types of assessment (needs assessment, for example, as opposed to assessment of student learning),
  • how assessment and metrics are related,
  • how we often use proxies to approximate measuring what we really want to know,
  • the difference between measuring perceptions, satisfaction, outcomes, impact, etc.

On the way to being fully data-driven, I think it is important for a culture of assessment to know what to do with feedback – anecdotal comments and stories that involve users.  How to systematically and appropriately use feedback (a kind of qualitative data) along with other qualitative and quantitative data seems like a very good organizational effectiveness skill.  It’s a bit like critically evaluating a resource — given the way the feedback is gathered, that tells you something about how to use it appropriately.

And finally, for building a culture of assessment, I would re-state the professional development element as “planned professional development” that has its own set of goals and assessment attached to it.

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About Karrie Peterson

Head, Liaison, Instruction & Reference Services
This entry was posted in Assessment, Organizational Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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